‘I like to have a martini,/ Two at the very most./ After three I’m under the table,/ After four I’m under my host.’ I never fully appreciated the brilliance of that spurious quote of Dorothy Parker until I visited Dukes Bar in Mayfair. It used to be the case – it probably still is – that you may order no more than two martinis there owing to their potency. Had she not preferred whisky to gin, Parker might well have banged her fists on that table for a third. After one-and-a-half before dinner, however, this critic would be more inclined to dance on it.
Humans may respond to drink in different ways, but we are, in fact, better at processing it than most other primates. In ‘Why do we use intoxicants?’, a fun little documentary airing as part of the series Deeply Human on the World Service this Sunday, American musician Dessa talks to a researcher about the origins of our obsession.